Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Keepin Busy

I do a lot of stuff.

I've always done a lot of stuff.

I hate not doing a ton of stuff.

It is intrinsic to my nature.

It is clear to me that someone does not know me if they advise me to take up hobbies or focus on my interests.

My stepmom life continues, whether I keep busy or not. Drama in stepfamily world happens, whether I'm busy or not.

I cannot overstate that I do a lot of stuff. I do keep busy. Many of the busy things are things for me, or only include me, or include my husband and I, involve socializing and fun, or maybe even include my stepkids.

I advise on this blog regularly that you find things for you, to do, to keep you busy and keep your mind occupied and distracted. At some point, you will start to lose it, and your marriage, if you don't have anything else going on. If you stopped seeing friends, if you stopped doing your hobbies, if you haven't picked up any new ones, or if you just stopped being you...You're not being your best self. You buried a part of you, and it will come out raging later and make you question your marriage and all that you sacrificed.

I know that you might be busy like me. But don't make excuses for not going out, going to an event with friends, or doing girl-time or other adult-level, your-age-group socializing. The kids dad CAN absolutely take care of the kids. You CAN ask him to come home, take some time off, or order a pizza instead. You CAN serve them dinner and then skedaddle, letting Dad put the kids to bed. You can let it happen, you can make it happen, and you'll find out it wasn't that hard afterall. You'll realize that the kids enjoy their dad, and that you ARE allowed to have a life.

I think I've heard of "mom guilt" before. I definitely see "dad guilt" all the time, though it is mostly unwarranted and unhelpful. Well, there's stepmom guilt. I felt it any time even considered a social outing with friends or business travel when my skids were little. I felt like I had to be there, had to make dinner, and had to take care of them. This was particularly ridiculous considering we're only every-other-weekend parents, but I still had it, and I now see it from a lot of other newer stepmoms. Seems to be an under-5-year thing, but it is particularly strong in the first 2 years, which is precisely the time frame when you should absolutely be continuing some friend/girl time.

The first 2 years are such a huge transition- almost to the point of insanity, as most of us experienced. The first 2 years include moving away, leaving your past, and being just too far away from friends and family. They include taking on other people's kids, who you may like, but are very clearly not yours (sometimes stated overtly by them, other times made apparent by their upbringing and behavior...), joining a man in his home, possible the home he shared with his ex-wife, or joining the community of his ex-wife. Your first 2 years of marriage truly include entering a world that is not yours. PLUS there's the marriage part. Minor detail.

Three, four, five years later, don't find yourself looking back, realizing that you could have been investing in your friendships still and other relationships, as your stepkids are still there, your husband is still there, and whether they like you or not at that point, you still have a social life to live.

You'll realize it at one point or another, but I'd really like it if you knew it right away so that you could stop canceling out on girls night with the stepmoms that are long past this realization. If you kept up your you-time now, you'll be healthier later.

No comments:

Post a Comment